Domestic Violence and the Toll on Black Women

Generic image (Thinkstock)
Generic image (Thinkstock)

At the Huffington Post, Josh Sugarmann, executive director of the Violence Policy Center, writes in response to an alarming new study from his organization about the rates at which black women are murdered by men.

The high toll gun violence exacts on black males is all too well known. Less known is the fact that black women also face a disproportionate risk of lethal violence. 

That's what we found in a new study released by my organization, the Violence Policy Center, for Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Using data from the FBI's unpublished Supplementary Homicide Report, we found that black women are murdered by men at a rate more than two and a half times higher than white women.

In 2011, the most recent year for which such data is available, black females were murdered by males at a rate of 2.61 per 100,000 in single victim/single offender incidents. For white women, the rate was 0.99 per 100,000.

To understand these numbers, here are some important facts to keep in mind. First, the primary risk of violence does not come from strangers. Ninety-four percent of black women were murdered by someone they knew (a proportion that is equally high for white women) …

We should not sit back and accept a society where black women face a higher chance of getting killed. Women should be aware of resources that are available to help them escape domestic violence situations. And we simply cannot wait any longer before we pass effective laws to stop our national epidemic of gun violence.


Read Josh Sugarmann's entire piece at the Huffington Post.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.


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